1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
During the past few years, technology has significantly reshaped the
method of assessment. In many academic domains, educational measurement has been moving towards the use of Computer-Based Testing (CBT), defined as tests or assessments that are administered by computer in either stand-alone or dedicated network or by other technology devices linked to the internet or worldwide web most of them using multiple choice questions (MCQs). Computer based tests have been used 1960s to test knowledge and problems solving skills. Computer based assessment systems have enabled educator and trainees to author, schedule, deliver and report on surveys, quizzes, tests and exams. There are two main types of computer based testing; the most familiar type is where candidates fill in their responses on a paper form, which is fed into a computer optical mark reader. This reads form, scores, the paper, and may even report on the tests reliability, the second type of computer based testing is where computers provide an assessment interface for students; they input their answers and receive feedbacks via a computer. An effective method of students’ assessments is necessary at all areas and levels of education. Due to increase in student numbers, ever-escalating work commitments for academic staff and the advancement of internet technology, the use of computer assisted assessment has been an attractive proposition for many higher education institutions. Since their first use, computer assisted test construction system have made a major impact on the design and generation of examinations at many universities and college (Ekiti State University and Emmanuel Alayande College of Education).
Currently in Ekiti State University and Emmanuel Alayande College of Education, the traditional method (a combination of essay examination and practical examination) is most used as evaluation of students knowledge. In the past few years, the number of students increased drastically and the conventional examination method became time consuming in term of the examination time for evaluation and assessment. A solution of examination in large classes of students is an automated testing system and this has been introduced by Ekiti State University and Emmanuel Alayande College of Education primarily to address the concerns and others.
Generally, the advantages of computer based test systems over traditional paper and pencil testing (PPT) have been demonstrated in several comparative works. Computer based test is just an alternative method for delivering examinations; it represents an important qualitative shift away from traditional methods such as paper based test. Despite these advantages available in computerized test administration, it does not mean that computer based tests are intrinsically better than paper and pencil tests. Previous study [( Fyfe,G., Meyer,J., Fyfe, S., Ziman,M., Sanders, K., and Hill,J.(n.d)] have even found that testing format does not affect test scores and as such computer based test(CBT) can be considered a valid and acceptable testing mode. As computer based test began to be used for summative assessment, establishing whether computer based testing performance was comparable to that of paper based testing became important. Researchers have performed large scale reviews of studies examining differences in performances of CBT and paper based version of tests and have generally found that when computer based test is similar in format to pencil and paper tests, it has little if any effects to pencil and paper tests, it has little if any effect on test performance ( Erle, L., Benjamin, Q., Einar, W.S., and Raymond, S. (2006)].
Moreso, from students’ perspective and teachers’ perspective of the CBT, there have been a number of mixed reactions. Previous research showed that more people anticipated problems with the computer assisted assessment than actually had them. This research also showed that despite fewer students being confident about CBT afterwards. Some studies reported the main disadvantages as being increased anxiety amongst their unfamiliar with use of computer and as such students agreed they are “technophobic”. The challenges of examinees by means of microcomputers demands appropriate software design. To comply with this demand, students and teachers belief and perception on the advantages and disadvantages of a computerized test are important since user perceptions and criticism are crucial in the acceptance, implementation and improvement of computerized tests, whilst recognizing the system level advantages associated with computer based test, it is important to explore the relationship between assessment mode and the behaviour of the students being assessed. If the term “Affordance” is used to describe what is made possible and facilitated, and what is made difficult and inhibited by a medium of assessment [(Johnson,M. and Green, S. (2004)]. It is possible that the affordance offered by the computer meditated assessment differently than if they were engaged in paper based assessment.
Conclusively, several areas appear worthy of investigation, including issues related to quality factors that may influence performance and students perceptions regarding computer based test. The fact that students’ perception towards CBT for examination is an under-explored topic which is apparent. Thus, this study describes the findings in this domain with a view of disseminating goods practices, guidelines and models of implementation and evaluation of a particular type of test mode.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The management of Ekiti State University and Emmanuel Alayande College of Education has recently implemented the use of CBT to test or examine students’ and teachers’ knowledge. The advantages of using computer technology for educational assessment in a global sense have been recognised and these include lower administrative cost, time saving and less demand upon teachers among others.
Whilst recognizing these system based advantages, it is important to explore the relationship between assessment mode and the behaviour as well as the perceptions of the students been assessed and teachers handling because the assumption comparability between CBT and PPT without paper investigation within that particular testing context, is inappropriate [(Saad, S.A (2009)]. Some test takers reported that it is more difficult to navigate back to rework problems, some are resistant to the computerized testing process because they are accustomed to taking notes and circling questions and / or answers for later reviews. Others say that they read more quickly and more easily on paper than on a glaring computer screen. While electronic glitches are rare, they have been known to occur, for instance where computer crashes can void the effort of large numbers of test takers. All these conflicting positions serve as the justification of this study.
In general, the points of concern are students’ attitudes about grades, attitude about convenience, control and validity. Some examinees have a general anxiety about the computer itself, while others are more concerned about whether their level of computer experience [(John, C.K, Cynthia, G.R., Judith A.S., and Tim, D. (2002)]. Some other technical issues in computer based test that affect students’ and teachers response designed questions are; use of the mouse, font size, screen clarity, screen size, screen resolution, display rate and scrolling. The user interface-item layout, presentations graphics has been known to affect examinees as they may have difficulty with certain aspects of it, or they may object to particular element of adaptive test delivery. These aspects are captured in the survey instruments of this study. The challenge on CBT designers and administrators is to construct CBT to be fair and reliable and to produce valid test scores.
Based on this background, this study was carried out to investigate the students’ and teachers’ perception towards the implementation of CBT mode of examination in Ekiti State University and Emmanuel Alayande College of Education study centre, Oyo.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
In order for CBT to be initiated or employed at the institutional level (Ekiti State University and Emmanuel Alayande College of Education), the students and teachers must see a need for educational use. In addition, both students and teachers must be ready and open to the potential benefits of a change in the teaching and learning environment.
The purpose of this study is to understand how undergraduate students in the selected institution are currently using CBT informally for educational purposes. It will also investigate the perceptions of teachers and compare the perceptions of teachers and students with regards to the use of CBT. The study will also explore how the formal use of computer based testing inside and outside campus could impact students learning, engagement and participation.
Finally, the study will examine if students’ and teachers’ are ready to adopt the use of CBT.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTION
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The outcome of this study would be of use to students, university management, College of Education administrators, professional organization and researchers. Exclusively, this study may create awareness to different examination bodies and higher institutions administrations in Nigeria to know students’ and teachers’ perception towards CBT. The study would also help Ekiti State University and Emmanuel Alayande College of Education administrators with useful information on the level of setting questions in CBT. This study would provide useful informations on the level of ICT literacy of students hence, assisting them in training and retraining their staffs to help teach the skill to the teachers.
In addition, if universities and colleges of education are to accept the use of computer based test as a mode of examination both teachers’ and students’ perceptions must be analyzed. This study will also be significant insomuch as it will provide information about how CBT are changing the way students learn and think about learning. The study also aims to understand how the implementation of CBT can influence the PPT.
In conclusion, the study is expected to inform researchers and educators about the current informal use of CBT in schools and help educators and administrators understand if there is a need to explore more formal CBT initiatives at the higher institution level. The result of the study may help teachers and school administrators understand if and how best incorporate CBT strategies into examination mode.
1.7 DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study focuses on teachers and students’ perception towards the implementation of computer based test mode of examination which was delimited to only Ekiti State University and Emmanuel Alayande College of Education. A total of 300 students and teachers shall be selected from the two (2) institutions to form the population for this
study. While simple random sampling technique will be used to select the respondents.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
The definitions of terms related to the study are as follows;
- Computer based test (CBT): This can be defined as tests or assessments that are administered through the use of computer in either stand alone or general.
- Paper based test (PPT): This is a mode of assessment using the traditional pen and pencil method. This is the common mode of examination now in Nigeria.
- Perceptions: The degree to which an individual believes about a particular thing.
- Implementation: The process of installing and maintaining a new system.